Moving Again and Getting Connected
20 January 2016 | Isla Mujeres, Mexico
Beth / mid 20's, sunny, relaxing
We had a peaceful Saturday night in the lagoon with winds 15 – 20 knots from the South but little fetch … until morning when the wind changed direction and we dragged. Again? Yes again, and when Jim pulled up the anchor, we could see why. The bottom here is a thick mix of grass and soft mud. Our Manson Supreme dug in nicely and held well in winds of 25 knots. But when we turned 180 degrees, it couldn’t reset itself. As Jim pulled it up, the strain on the windlass grew stronger and stronger, until he could see that it was one giant clump of mud. No wonder it couldn’t reset – there was just a clump of “stuff” with not a bit of anchor to be seen. He had to knock it off with the boat pole before he could raise it the rest of the way. Once anchored again, we held well through the next day’s blow.
On Sunday the wind blew 20- 25 with gusts to 30 and more, whipping up whitecaps inside the lagoon. There was no getting off the boat to go anywhere. And so we sat. No internet. Still weary of wind. Watching the wind indicator and listening to the howl in the rigging, checking the anchor line, checking the chartplotter, reading, napping. At one point Jim said, “Why do people do this? We could be out doing something, and here we sit wondering if we are going to cut loose and go drifting away.” I guess the enforced stay aboard is a bit like staying inside during a snowstorm back home, but we didn’t ever worry then about the security of the house!
It was about then that we started thinking that a dock would be an excellent idea. So on Monday, when everything calmed down we set off on 2 major errands: internet and dock space.
Back we dinghied to El Centro. We tied up at the fuel dock and walked to Adrian’s place of business (on the square, near the grocery store) and found the man himself behind his desk. What a blessing. He opened his cash drawer, pulled out a card with Sim Chip, told us in excellent English all about the process, and proceeded to set it up. We bought 3GB of data good for 1 month for 400 pesos, and the card cost 150 pesos. (The exchange rate just now is about $1. CA to 12.5 pesos.) It took a little while because even though the printed rate from the telephone company was 399 pesos, it wouldn’t connect without adding another 20. We laughed to see him pull out his special tool for opening the iPad – not a paper clip, but a hypodermic syringe! (We checked next door at the phone company store just for interest sake, but no – no sim chips there – only in Cancun. Hmmm.) With that errand done, we started checking out marinas.
El Milagro is convenient to town and pretty with lots of Mexican tile and a little sandy beach, but the price has doubled since we were here before. Oscar’s and del Sol in the lagoon were full, and although we have heard that they will both try to find a place to squeeze you in, we just didn’t feel like squeezing. Next stop, Puerto Isla Mujeres Resort and Yacht Club. The price ($1.05 US per foot per day) is about the same as El Milagro, but it is farther from the busyness and big wakes of the tour boats, the well-groomed grounds are more extensive and there is a gorgeous big pool and fountain.
So once we made the decision to open the wallet, it was really a no- brainer about where we would go. It is primarily a sport fishing marina – those big, expensive sport fishing boats with paid crew, along with a couple of huge sailboats side tied on lovely finger docks - but your regular sailboats are welcome to tie up at the slightly rickety dock at the far south end of the property!
We called ahead for assistance in taking lines – pretty much a necessity for us as I scrambled around looping stern lines over poles while we came bow first toward the dock. (It is much easier to climb over our bow to the dock, than to access it from the stern.) We just got nicely set, when Elmer, the dockman said, “Oh, not many boats here now, why don’t we pull your stern around and you can side tie!” We thought about that for 10 seconds, smiled and said, “Good idea!” Fortunately the slips are nice wide ones, and we could just turn the boat with lines until she was lying side to the dock. Ahhhhhhh.
I cannot begin to describe the relaxation of this move. No more anchor watch. No more debating about whether or not we can go to town or to the grocery store or whether someone should stay on the boat. As we walk the paths and watch the iguanas, as we swim and then lounge by the pool, as we use the clean showers (without bailing out the water afterward) and think about doing some land travel, we stand up straighter and smile more. Our shoulders have dropped away from our ears. We nod and say, “Yes. This is worth every penny.” - at least for a while!
Yes, we love adventure and we love being at anchor, and we’re pretty good at roughing it, but we love a few creature comforts from time to time too.